Film review | The Future – Miranda July gives surreal shape to a pair of directionless lives

The Future - Miranda July & Hamish Linklater

Viewers with an aversion for whimsy should probably steer well clear of multimedia artist Miranda July’s second feature film, The Future, which is even quirkier than her 2005 debut Me and You and Everyone We Know. Be warned: the film features narration by an injured stray cat named Paw-Paw (ickily voiced by July herself). If this strikes you as being tooth-grindingly fey, steer well clear.

Yet those with a taste for the offbeat will find surprising pleasures and insights in this eccentric comedy drama about a listless LA couple whose lives are sent for a loop after they decide to adopt the aforementioned puss.

Freaked out by the impending responsibility, mid-thirtysomethings Sophie (played by July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater) decide to shake up their slacker-like, low-achieving lives (she teaches dance to kids; he doles out online tech support) and make the most of their remaining month of freedom before they take charge of the cat.

Almost immediately, their big plans fizzle out, the fault lines in their relationship become exposed and their paths diverge in somewhat surreal fashion. Sophie’s project to post dances on YouTube fails to get off the ground and she drifts into a slightly sleazy affair with an older man. Unwilling to face the end of their relationship, unwilling in fact to face the future, Jason finds a way to stop time …

July’s new film isn’t as witty or touching as her debut (which won the Caméra d’Or at Cannes), but she still manages in her off-kilter way to say something original about her characters’ hopes and fears and illusions, and about the way they try to give sense and shape to their directionless lives.

On general release from Friday 4th November.

Check out Miranda July’s Facebook calendar which recommends must-see cultural events currently going on in the UK (films, festivals, exhibitions, music events etc).  You can find her calendar on Movie Talk’s Facebook page.

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